Stella Maris is the largest ship-visiting network in the world, and the official maritime charity of the Catholic Church. 

Seafarers often have to work away from their families and local communities for nine to 12 months at a time.  Across the world, we aim to provide a ‘friend in every port’ and stand alongside seafarers to ensure their rights are upheld. For 100 years we’ve been extending the hand of friendship and welcoming seafarers and fishers to our shores.

Our network of chaplains and volunteers makes more than 70,000 ship visits each year and supports hundreds of thousands of seafarers and fishermen in times of need.

220 Chaplains

supporting seafarers globally

750 Volunteers

in ports around the world

Visiting Seafarers

in 54 countries

Our Work

Life at sea can be difficult and seafarers can suffer from loneliness, depression, spiritual deprivation, and even exploitation. Our chaplains and volunteers visit hundreds of thousands of seafarers every year. They listen and chat, they arrange Mass onboard ships, they offer practical help in a crisis and bring free Wi-Fi onboard so seafarers can call home. Often, these simplest practical kindnesses make the greatest difference.

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Our History

Stella Maris was founded in Glasgow in 1920 by a group of Catholic men and women with the founding belief that every seafarer deserves fair working conditions and respect for their human rights. The shipping industry has changed dramatically in the last 100 years and our work has evolved to make sure we can still meet the changing needs of seafarers today, but our mission to provide care and support for the people of the sea remains the same.

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Our mission and ethos

Our mission is to support seafarers and fishers spiritually, practically, and emotionally. Our Catholic faith is at the heart of Stella Maris, it inspires, enlivens, and motivates our work, and is expressed through a loving care of the people of the sea of all faiths and none.

Stella Maris chaplains are the arm around the shoulder of a seafarer grieving a colleague, the friendly face who turns up on board to welcome them to our ports, the ones facilitating endless phone-calls when they feel homesick helping them to overcome stress or mental problems. I am so proud of their work and dedication.

– Dr Esteban Pacha, Stella Maris Chair of Trustees